Infidelity is never a simple matter. Brothers & Sisters has done a good job of illustrating this in last night’s show “Resolved” aired 11/07/10.  Too many people simplify affairs into bad guy/good guy. Yes, Scotty admits he was WRONG in capital letters and he has a story to tell about what was missing for him on the opening night of his restaurant.

When people are in love it’s very hard to talk and have any impact, whether you’re a parent, a friend or a therapist. The brain’s very chemistry makes those in love lost, foolish and sparklingly happy. Couples counseling doesn’t work when either person is in love with somebody else. Infidelity does not make any logical sense. What matters is that there is some way that the person having the extramarital affair feels different in their life.

Scotty was not in love but he was hungry for nourishment. Hunger doesn’t mean an infidelity is ok. Infidelity is betrayal. Hunger does mean there is an underlying story or context to the hunger. Something was missing. Scotty often refers to Kevin as taking up all the air in the room with his demands fueled by anxiety. At the end of the episode Scotty is able to talk to Kevin about this problem in their marriage. Kevin is lacking awareness about his contribution to the problem because Scotty didn’t risk telling him to begin with. Now they have an opportunity to grow and learn from their mistakes, though Scotty has more to own up to!

It’s usually more than feeling sexy and attractive to someone else. If you are having an affair, ask yourself how you are different with the new person. One woman answered “playful, adventuresome and spontaneous.” Who wouldn’t want to be those things again? Learn from it and find those qualities at home with your partner.

It’s easy to get lost in the routine of raising a family. It can be the most important task of your life but it doesn’t mean you want to lose track of your adventuresome self.

If you are smitten with someone else you can learn from it. Sometimes something is missing and you don’t know what it is. You don’t have to act out sexually to find it. You do have to think about it, preferably before the affair starts.

Intimacy may be missing. Intimacy is sharing who you are with each other along with the richness of being real. If you’ve swallowed anger over your partner spending too much time playing computer games or looking at computer porn or being away from home too much then the distance doubles and triples until you notice someone else. Intimacy can be repaired even if it’s been neglected. It can’t be repaired if you’re being nourished by someone else. Read the quote by Nora on this blog post that defines commitment eloquently:

Infidelity doesn’t have to be a dead-end. Infidelity can be a door opening into understanding yourself and each other.

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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